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Most common types of irritation caused by hair removal

For many, thinking about hair removal triggers thoughts of irritation, discomfort and, in extreme cases, pain. If this is you, know that you are definitely NOT alone. I’m here to tell you, there are ways to avoid the irritation and discomfort. The first step towards this is breaking down the general term “irritation” and pinpointing the actual type of irritation you’re experiencing so we can work towards escaping it.

Before diving in, we need to acknowledge that shaving is by no means the only hair removal method. We go into this in more detail here (here doesn't exist yet... working on it!), but suffice to say, different people and circumstances are best suited to different methods. There’s no one size fits all solution! The skin irritations listed below can occur from varying hair removal techniques (often the irritation actually occurs due to improper technique) so try to determine the actual type of irritation your experiencing irregardless of how hair was removed…

razor burn — appears as a red rash with small bumps, accompanied by itching or a burning sensation
ingrown hairs — redness, inflammation, and small, painful bumps caused by hair curling back or growing sideways into the skin instead of growing out of the follicle
skin dryness & flaking — itching, flaky appearance, and overall discomfort
folliculitis — red, itchy bumps or pustules caused by the inflammation of hair follicles; usually a bacterial or fungal infection
contact dermatitis — redness, itching, and sometimes blisters or hives as a result of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to hair removal products
hyperpigmentation — darkening of the skin in certain areas often as a result of skin inflammation caused by hair removal
burns — can range from mild to severe, leading to redness, pain, and potential blistering or scarring (usually caused by improper use of hair removal devices, such as hot wax or laser hair removal)

I’ve kept the above succinct, but if you’re still unsure of what category your irritation most likely falls into, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly. I’m also considering doing a bit more of a deep dive on each in individual posts… let me know if that’s something of interest?!?!

For now, I want to give you a start on what you can try depending on your irritation:

RAZOR BURN is commonly triggered by friction, so it's crucial to minimize any avoidable friction. Ensure you’re using a sharp blade, shave in the direction of hair growth, try not to apply too much pressure with your razor, pass over each area as few times as possible, and avoid shaving products with harsh chemicals and alcohol that can dry out skin (our shave oil is a great natural option).

INGROWN HAIRS occur when hair becomes caught below the skin’s surface. This is most often caused by improper hair removal or a buildup of dead skin cells that block the hair follicle. To avoid them make sure you’re gently exfoliating regularly and keep area well hydrated (our ingrown oil hydrates AND helps prevent the buildup of debris and oils).

SKIN DRYNESS & FLAKING can be caused by frequent hair removal. Skin becomes stripped of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. To avoid this make sure you NEVER dry shave and keep skin nourished—we love to do this by either shaving with our shave oil, or if you prefer shaving with soap, apply our body oil post shave. 

FOLLICULITIS is the inflammation and infection of hair follicles, therefore, to avoid it cleanliness is key. Ensure your razor is clean, switch out your razor blade regularly, use shaving products that have antibacterial properties (such as our shave oil), and keep skin cleansed and free from unnecessary friction (avoid tight clothing).  ***In cases of persistent or severe folliculitis, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

CONTACT DERMATITIS is caused by the skin coming into direct contact with a substance that triggers an allergic or irritant reaction. Therefore, if you’re experiencing it post shave the most likely culprit is your shaving products (be it gel, cream, soap or oil)—try switching to a natural option free from harsh chemicals and irritants.

HYPERPIGMENTATION is by no means linked only to hair removal, but skin trauma and inflammation, both common causes, often are. Try to avoid overly aggressive hair removal techniques, keep skin well hydrated during and after hair removal, and gently exfoliate regularly.

BURNS are caused by the improper use of hair removal devices or techniques and are unlikely to occur from most at-home hair removal methods. To avoid, ensure you always seek out professional help whose services are of repute.  

In conclusion, I want to assure you that you're not alone in experiencing irritation and discomfort during hair removal. There are plenty of ways to minimize these issues—the key lies in understanding the specific type of irritation you're facing so that you can find the perfect solutions. Whether it's dealing with razor burn, battling ingrown hairs, combating skin dryness and flaking, tackling folliculitis, soothing contact dermatitis, addressing hyperpigmentation, or avoiding burns, there are targeted steps you can take to address each concern with confidence. From using sharp blades and gentle shaving techniques to exfoliating regularly and choosing suitable products, tailoring your hair removal routine can make a significant difference. Remember, if you're uncertain about the nature of your irritation, don't hesitate to reach out for further guidance. We're here to help!